Washington Report: AIA Lauds Senator’s Floor Speech

 - October 8, 2007, 10:42 AM

Aerospace Industries Association president and CEO John Douglass commended Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) for her Senate floor speech on May 5, which rhetorically asked, “Will the last aerospace worker leaving America turn out the lights?”

Murray said she will introduce legislation to create a Joint Committee on Aerospace that will help Congress recognize that our future is very much tied to aerospace, and commercial aerospace in particular. “A dedicated group of House and Senate members, with a targeted agenda, can help the Administration and the country recommit itself to the next century of global aerospace leadership,” she explained.

Douglass, who served on the Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry, said Murray’s speech will help educate the public and her fellow colleagues in the Senate on the intense foreign competition the U.S. aerospace industry faces.
He called the speech one more wake-up call to Congress and the Administration to pay attention to the U.S. aerospace industry and implement the commission’s recommendations to ensure that the scenario she outlined in her speech never becomes reality.

“We are about to surrender our global leadership because we are sitting on our hands while Europe is doing everything it can to dismantle our aerospace industry,” Murray said. “We Americans led the first century of flight, but we might not even have a role in the second century if we keep sleepwalking down this dangerous road.”

She accused Europe and Airbus of an unlimited assault leveled at America’s aerospace workers, and her speech title was a play on a 1971 billboard in Seattle. It showed a light bulb and string and said, “Will the last person leaving Seattle please turn out the light.”

Murray charged that Europe is taking over America’s aerospace industry “through aggressive, unfair, market-distorting measures, including subsidies, bribes, landing slots, discounts, value guarantees, trade threats and rewards. In addition, she said that Airbus and EADS are now engaged in a slick campaign to market themselves as American companies to policy makers and the general public.

According to Murray, Airbus and EADS are running a campaign of misinformation to secure more U.S. business for European workers, including employing a “small army of lobbyists,” hiring prominent Americans and making false claims concerning how many U.S. jobs it has created and how many U.S. companies with which it does business.

“Europe is putting its full support, subsidies and power behind Airbus, and it’s working,” said Murray.